SCP Auctions is pleased to be able to offer Johnny Unitas’ 1960’s Baltimore Colts Football Helmet in our upcoming April auction. Bidding opens on April 15th and closes on April 30th, 2011. Catalogues have been shipped and an online preview of the entire auction will be featured on our website beginning on April 10th.Few, if any, sports stories are more dramatic or more complete than the story of Johnny Unitas. A ninth-round draft choice of the 1955 Pittsburgh Steelers, Unitas was cut before he even threw one pass in a game. Still determined, he played semi-pro football for $6 a game. After the season, the Baltimore Colts coach Weeb Ewbank learned of the “outstanding prospect” on the Pittsburgh sandlots. Ewbank signed Johnny for $17,000 on a make the team basis.
Programmed strictly as a backup, Unitas got his chance in the fourth game when the Colts’ starter was injured. Unitas’ first pass was intercepted for a touchdown but from that moment on, he never looked back. For the next 18 seasons, “Johnny U” ran up a ledger of game winning exploits seldom matched in NFL history. Without a doubt, it was his last-second heroics in the 1958 NFL title game, often called “the greatest game ever played,” that turned Unitas into a household name. Possessing an unparalleled combination of confidence, courage, leadership, play calling genius, and passing skill, Unitas’ career statistics include 40,239 yards and 290 touchdown passes. His record of at least one touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games may stand forever. A genuine team player, Unitas was a first- or second-team All-NFL choice eight years, selected NFL Player of the Year three times, and named to10 Pro Bowls.
The offered Johnny Unitas 1960’s Baltimore Colts game worn helmet originates directly from the Unitas family and is described in an accompanying letter of provenance from John Unitas Jr. as “the most significant piece of memorabilia from the Unitas family collection.” The letter also asserts that this helmet has remained in the family’s sole custody since Johnny Unitas last wore it. Few objects in the realm of football memorabilia could inspire more awe than a helmet worn by Johnny U in the field of battle, and no such object could come with a finer pedigree that the one we present here as part of our April Internet Auction.